Marissa Benedict


16"x24" oil on canvas Our friend Marissa is the Principal Trumpet for the Pasadena Symphony and Pops. She seems to be in considerable demand, playing all over with different high caliber ensembles. As a matter of fact, if you play video games, you have probably heard her trumpet in the background whilst you performed black ops or got called to duty or blew the head off that annoying zombie waitress or deprived that very inconsiderate terrorist of his morning cup of joe. You name it, that violent act was backed up by a first class trumpet player who—against her better judgement, I'm sure—agreed to pose for me. Thank you, Marissa!
  
Posted September 18, 2014


Izze Bottle and Tang Jar

6"x4" oil on raymar panel So, Spawn Number One comes home with that Izze bottle and says, "Here, paint this." Considering the imp does not drink soda, I was wondering if he was picking up his old man's keen observational powers. It is actually known as scrounging, but keen observational powers sounds so much better, don't you think? And how often do you get to use the word keen, anyway? Enough about the painting and my dreadful vernacular. I found out that my recent car ills (one being it dying on me down in Little Tokyo when it was a lovely 108 degrees outside) were caused by my battery being 10 years old. When my mechanic saw the battery, he said it was a freak for lasting so long. I was really let down. I was hoping for a Super Freak. Ow. (I know that really bad joke dates me, but I couldn't resist.)

Posted September 16, 2014


Little Falcon Camera

4"x6" oil on raymar panel The number of cameras I have acquired due to my addiction is... many. I will not commit to a solid number. That level of commitment would scare me. Anyhoo... This little gem of a camera was hiding, kind of forgotten, in our curio when I noticed it the other day. Why I did not paint it when I acquired it years ago, I will never know. The camera is in mint condition and beautifully designed and deserves more of my attention. So, here it is in smooshed, globbed, and otherwise squished oil paint.   
Posted September 9, 2014


sold • private collection round lake, ny


Old Monrovia Gas Station

16"x24" oil on canvas WARNING: The following rant will be long and quite possibly the most boring ramble you will read over the next two years. I'm going for a record here, so if you're poaching eggs, better go and keep an eye on your timer—you don't want to overdo your eggies and the timer will be much more exciting to watch than this diatribe is to read. This is one of four pieces that I recently had professionally photographed. When I went to pick up the pieces after they were shot, I slipped into the "backroom" of the studio to talk to the poor suffering photog who shot them—see if I could pick up some pointers from a pro. I have found that the pass key to talking to the pros seems to be the words "cross polarization." If you use this technique, you may not be a complete noob, just an annoying artist asking too many questions. So, I whipped those two babies out, getting me to the "Quick Judgement" stage of the conversation. That's when, in a matter of seconds, they size me up either as a nice guy who paints pieces that are challenging to photograph OR as the nefarious S.O.B. that nature created to curse their very existence by painting those damn pieces that just made their morning in the studio a nightmare so bad, they upchucked their morning bagel and coffee. I presented myself as blandly as possible (not a hard thing for me considering that a plain white wall looks exciting by comparison) and was judged relatively harmless. After gaining admittance, I found out that the poor guy suffered just like me when photographing my work. It always comes down to: "Your colors... MAN! Don't get me wrong... I love them, but... MAN!" This sentiment is sometimes accompanied by mild cussing, which I find completely appropriate for the situation. He proceeded by telling me how he had to selectively pick and isolate colors in PhotoShop and "... beat them down with a stick." I have had similar conversations with other professional photographers and it is almost always sung to the same tune. The commonality of this "challenge" is really frustrating because the problem can throw the values off—stroke by stroke—in the digital images of my work. I work very hard on my values. By values, I don't mean moral values; I am as morally bankrupt as that neighbor who, undercover of nightfall, chucks snails from their yard into yours. No, I mean the tonal values in my paintings. Values hold a painting together, if they are off, my work falls apart. If you see a red in the sky of one of my paintings that appears darker or lighter than the blues or purples or grays or whatever color is around it, it is most likely a digital anomaly. In person, that sky may look like thick and gooey sculpted icing on a cake that was applied by a psychotic baker who went off his meds that day, but at least the values hold together. This is because I worked back and forth and back and forth, over and over, to get the sky to work—the red should not appear (much) lighter or darker than its neighbors. Those photographic conversations kinda sorta let my own evil, bully of a camera off the hook... a bit. I still think it is evil, evil, evil, and it hates me, but it would appear that the digital realm in general is what dislikes my work. Did I say that my camera is evil? Just wanted to make sure I got that adjective in there. Okay, that is the end of the rant. Go eat your eggs.
  
Posted September 5, 2014


Salt Overshadows Pepper

6"x4" oil on raymar panel Empty containers on their way to the trash, hijacked and painted. Yes, it is just that simple: I steal trash. Man, I am so happy my mother does not read these commentaries.
  
Posted September 3, 2014




The 1201 Apts

24"x16" oil on deep canvas My good buddy Sean Finnochio found this one for me. What a guy! Check out his work at www.33stewartavenue.com. We collect his work and his beard is simply awesome.
  
Posted August 29, 2014


Chicco Castle Pounder Toy Thingy

4"x6" oil on door skin panel This was a gift from some good friends of ours to Spawn Number One upon his fiery entry into this totally unprepared world. It is a great toy. Both of The Spawn have pounded on it over the years. Heck, I've pounded on it over the years. It is a good (and acceptable) stress reliever. It is also supposed to be a great developmental tool for young sprouts. To which I say (having only mentally matured to about the level of a two year old myself): "Who cares a flyin' flip about that? Find me something to pound on, and now! Oh yeah, get me a cookie while your at it—and no coconut. Oops. Sorry. Pleeease." In other Raymond news... I have been judged into the Beverly Hills Art Show. Yeah. It is an October happening. Further details to follow via carrier pigeon.
  
Posted August 27, 2014


Kodak Brownie Starflash Camera Red

6"x4" oil on door skin panel This is one of two of these cameras that reside in my studio, staring at me with those unblinking "paint me" eyes everyday. The other one is blue and I have painted them both before. You will just have to suffer with another—those eyes are irresistible. Tomorrow is last call for The Cityscape Show IV over at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). Last chance to check it out.
  
Posted August 22, 2014


sold • private collection west hollywood, ca
The Cityscape Show IV
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com



The Verdigris Apts

24"x16" oil on deep canvas This is the first in a series of three apartments I painted. It took quite a long time to research this project; we went out a lot shooting photographs. I say "we" because I learned early on that I cannot simultaneously drive and look for things to paint. I was/am an unholy terror, risking the lives of all peace loving citizens where ever I found myself driving down the street/sidewalk taking pictures. Seeing my car approach was kind of like seeing a psychotic, completely confused hurricane coming down the street at you. A hurricane that, by the way, might slam itself into reverse. No. The only adult present—that would be The Spousal Unit—banned me from the practice. With her mature guidance and up-to-date drivers license, we photographed approximately 30 of these buildings in just one morning—her driving with me jumping out taking pictures. (In the morning we shoot east facing buildings. West facing get shot in the afternoon. It's all about the light.) I still had a hard time with the concept that the car had to stop before I jumped out (it's called "tuck 'n' roll"), but I must admit that we make a great, and now safe, team. It has been hard accepting that I need adult supervision (pretty much all the time), but this artist and a lot of innocent parkway trees would be dead without the guiding hand of that goddess. So... She drives. If you would like to see this piece in person, it and its two cohorts are hanging, until Saturday, at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). Check them out.
  
Posted August 20, 2014





The Cityscape Show IV
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com



My Corona Clippers

6"x4" oil on raymar panel I had just cleaned and oiled these babies and was on my way to sharpening them, when they made a fortuitous detour into my studio. Even garden shears need a rest sometime. When I first thought about painting larger pieces, one subject to cross my oh-so-small mind were these clippers. That was about maybe three or four pairs ago and I still haven't tackled that painting. Oh yeah, I ab"use" my clippers. And yes, sometimes they mysteriously disappear like the lemons off our tree in the front yard (You know who you are!). (Notice how I changed the subject from my not painting a piece to people stealing our lemons? Just shifty.) Anyway... Gray, well-worn metal is just irresistible to me. Look deeply and you will see all sorts of things going on in that wonderfully seasoned patina. I can throw my whole palette at it and much of it sticks. Just another annoying reminder: This is the last week of The Cityscape Show IV over at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). If you haven't seen my three pieces in the show, try to get over there and check them out.
  
Posted August 18, 2014


sold • private collection albuquerque, nm


The Cityscape Show IV
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com



Agfa Ansco B-2 Shur-Shot Box Camera

6"x4" oil on raymar panel These old box cameras were so elegantly simple. So simple it seems that the manufacturers felt compelled to add the decorative metal face plates. The plates serve no purpose other than to deliver a dose of beauty. How considerate of Mr. Agfa or Mr. Ansco or Mr. Kodak or Mr. Whoever. I snagged this one based not only on its condition, but on the beauty of its art deco face plate. Of course, I splatter and gob and smoosh my colors all over it in my representation. Poor camera. Don't forget that next week is the last week of The Cityscape Show IV over at the George Billis Gallery in Culver City (see info below). If you haven't seen my three pieces in the show, try to get over there and check them out.
  
Posted August 15, 2014





The Cityscape Show IV
(www.georgebillis.com/exhibitions1.html)
Show Dates: July 12th to August 23rd

Summer Hours: Tuesday - Saturday, 11:00 AM - 5:00 PM
George Billis Gallery
2716 S. La Cienega Boulevard / Los Angeles, CA 90034
310.838.3685 / la@georgebillis.com



J's Other Ropers (The Larger) - Easel Shot


Above: 16" x 20" oil on canvas
Below: 4" x 6" oil on raymar panel
Purchase for $99 - shoot me an email
I am sorry about the quality of the above photo and I hope you don't mind the occasional easel shot. It's just that I finished this only yesterday and it was a particularly challenging piece. So, yes, I wanted to share my pain. As is often the case with me, the larger painting is a take-off of a smaller one (see below). The Spousal Unit had to suffer twice the theft of her most beloved boots. They are so, so comfortable with their uppers being as soft and silky as basset hound ears. I had a basset hound once, and let me tell you, that's saying something. Messing with any of my wife's boots is a life threatening exercise, so I can honestly say that I risk my life (and cookies) for my art.
 
Posted August 13, 2014



Bob's Big Boy Coin Bank

6"x4" oil on raymar panel Bob's Big Boy was initially a burger joint here in Glendale, California. It expanded to multiple locations with some restaurants having big fiberglass statues of Bob's Big Boy holding up a hamburger on a plate. The teenagers of the area, being a somewhat mischievous lot, tended to "liberate" him from his stand. The checkered guy could show up in some pretty odd spots, but he usually made his appearances on the campus of a rival high school. The Big Boy's flight happened with such frequency that the restaurants had to start bolting the poor kid down. No matter, there was a butcher in town who had a big fiberglass cow on his roof (Yeah, like it would be safe up there?) that served just as well. It was great seeing that poor cow on top of a rival's gym. I mean, it was very, very wrong of those kids to do that—they should have known better. Bad kids, bad kids. Well, I don't have one of those big traveling statues (and I do not admit to any involvement in past "liberating" of said statues), but The Mother Unit had this little coin bank in a drawer and being the graceful and benevolent matriarch that she is, she let me paint it. Thanks Mom!)
 
Posted August 11, 2014


sold • private collection los angeles, ca

Scott's Lionel Train Engine

4"x6" oil on raymar panel My buddy Scott keeps loaning me things to paint and/or throw at my kids. Here is his Lionel train engine immortalized in oil paint. (Thanks, Scott! Sorry about the dent. Who knew Spawn Number One's head is so dang hard?)
 
Posted August 8, 2014


General Electric Clock Radio Pink

4"x6" oil on raymar panel This wonderful mid-century clock radio has just enough angles to really tick me off. Not only does it lean backwards—the clock face at one angle and the radio face at another—it also has gently canted sides. Of course the sides are at a different slant than those of the inset clock. This pink baby has just enough wonderfully graceful mid-century, Jetsons-like angles to drive an artist absolutely mad. I love it. I liked the insanity so much that I am thinking of painting it again—a bit larger. Oh, I almost forgot to walk Astro on the treadmill. That thing terrifies me—the treadmill, not Astro. Where's Elroy when you need him. Jane! Jane!
 
Posted August 6, 2014


 
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